Set 26 Invisalign Braces – Happy New Year!

I intended to follow the old English saying “start as you mean to go on” this year with my Invisalign Braces. So far, not so good.

In fact, not only did I pass midnight on New Year’s Eve without my braces in my mouth, I woke up with them on my bedside table on January the first. Not a great start.

This is actually a first for me. Although I am generally pretty poor in complying with the 22 hours a day Invisalign requirement (I average more like 20ish I think) I have never, ever left my aligners out overnight before! In fact, I’ve never even come close. Whilst I confess that I had consumed rather more alcohol than I might normally and that might have had something to do with it I am still amazed that I managed to go to bed and sleep the whole night (well, OK 1am to 9am!) without realising that something was missing. It took me less than 30 seconds to work out that my aligners weren’t in when I woke up, and a quick glance at my bedside table confirmed what I had suspected. Nonetheless despite my pounding head and the waves of nausea that let me know that I had drunk more than I have in many, many years I was still surprised that I had been drunk enough to forget my braces. I had thought that I was on autopilot these days when it comes to putting them in before bed. Obviously not!

I visited my orthodontist this week for my regular six weekly appointment and in a fit of raging guilt told him that I had a confession to make. He stood there, eyebrows raised expectantly with an expression I haven’t seen anybody wear since I left school, whilst I nervously weighed up whether or not to admit the whole sorry truth. However, I needn’t have worried. After admitting that I had left my braces out for a whole night he did nothing but snort, give a dismissive guffaw and tell me “That’s not a confession!” Apparently the girl in before me had left hers out for several days over Christmas and had to go back two aligners just to get them back in her mouth. So I picked the right time to confess I guess!

Despite me being so remiss all seems to be going reasonably well. I had 9 upper refinements (on top of my original 17 aligners) which consisted of 6 refinements and 3 over-corrections. I have now completed my first 6 refinements and I think there is still a little way to go before my teeth are absolutely finished on the top. My orthodontist told me that this is fairly standard; in fact most people who need refinements need to use the over-corrections. Over-corrections are given by Invisalign because those particular teeth proved stubborn to move the first time around and apparently they then usually remain resistant throughout treatment. For this reason he has told me to wear my next two upper over-corrections and he will then review my teeth again to see whether we are satisfied with the final positioning.

My bottom arch is now on aligner 26/34 and whilst I can see great progress my orthodontist is not convinced that there will be sufficient room after another 8 aligners to get my bottom wonky tooth (which you can see here on my clincheck) in to place. I am cautiously hopeful that he is wrong, but we shall see. If there isn’t enough room by number 34 we will have to do refinements (additional aligners) for the bottom row too. Funnily enough on my clincheck it always looked like there would be plenty of room long before the end and as my teeth seem to be tracking perfectly I am surprised that there isn’t. As my orthodontist has told me repeatedly the clincheck is only a guide, not gospel. Having read numerous other patients Invisalign stories I know that that is the truth. It seems that it doesn’t pay to get too wedded to the final result that the clincheck shows, it’s a useful estimate but nothing more.

There is no massive progress since the last Invisalign pictures that I posted ( you can see the highlights in the sidebar on the right) so I won’t post more now, but I’ll take more after these two over-correction uppers so you can give me your verdict on my upper arch. I think that I could do with a little more widening of my molars, but maybe the over-corrections will take care of that, we shall see. In the meantime I intend to try and make up for the misdemeanours of New Year’s Eve by being especially compliant in January. We shall see how long that lasts! At the very least I am happy that one year into treatment I am still loving my Invisalign.. Watch this space!

One Year In Invisalign Braces – Not There Yet!

It occurred to me yesterday that it is almost exactly a year since I started wearing Invisalign and whilst I won’t be throwing the little plastic fellas a birthday party exactly, I thought it might be useful to reflect on how well the year has gone.

Firstly, have my teeth changed? Hell yes. When I look at that horrendous before picture in my right sidebar I’m not surprised that I never showed my teeth when I smiled. I’m actually just surprised that I left the house at all!
Not that I have perfect teeth now, in fact, I still have probably as long  to go again, if not longer. But I’m happy with that because I can see that things are moving in the right direction.
So to reflect on the good things to have come out of this whole process:

  • My teeth look much, much better already. The thing that has made a particular difference in my opinion has been the widening of my upper arch. I knew that it needed to be done, I just didn’t know what a difference it would make.
  • The tooth whitening. This made an enormous visual change to my smile and I plan to do some more when I am finished and all of my attachments are off. It was also a great boost at the start of the treatment. I can highly recommend the nitewhite that I used with my trays.
  • My orthodontist is great, which is a huge relief. It was such a process to find a good orthodontist that I’m thrilled that it worked out so well.
  • Wearing my Invisalign isn’t painful in any way. Of course, there is some pressure and tenderness at the beginning of some trays but there is no rubbing and chafing, no sores, nothing. I expected this to be much worse than it is. I’m not sure what I expected exactly, but I think it involved ucers, sores, waxes and many other horrors that I haven’t had to deal with.
  • My oral hygiene has dramatically improved. I feel guilty now if I only floss three times a day. I hope this carries on after treatment at least to some extent. It’s also gratifying to actually be able to get the floss between my teeth, it used to be an exercise in physical force just to get the stuff between my teeth and out again without it breaking. These days I don’t even think about it.
  • I just haven’t found wearing the things an ordeal. They aren’t that noticable, they aren’t that inconvenient, they just aren’t very difficult. Such minor inconvenience for such a great result seems a pretty happy balance to me.

Of course, not every aspect of Invisalign wearing is rosy … off the top of my head these are the things that I don’t like about my braces:

  • I’m not as compliant in wearing my Invisalign I should be. I know that is my fault and not the fault of Invisalign but it still annoys me. Mainly it is just laziness and forgetfulness, less than admirable traits.  Still, it gives me something to add to my list of New Years Resolutions.
  • I forgot to get my attachments removed before my upper refinements and then I forgot to ask my orthodontist why we didn’t remove them. Of course, there may well be a sound orthodontic reason for it, but I don’t know it so it annoys me!
  • I keep losing the damn things. I’m sure if you’re a regular reader your pretty au fait with my inability to hold onto my Invisalign aligners, but honestly, in the next year I don’t want to go scrabbling through any more restaurant dustbins. Yes, it happened again last week. No, it wasn’t pretty.

On reflection there isn’t really anything that I would change about my Invisalign decision. Of course, I am yet to see the end result and that might change my feelings, but at what I assume to be about the halfway point I am thrilled with how things are going.

On a final note I just wanted to say thank you to the 65,000 of you (yes really) that have read this blog over the last year. Your comments, helpful suggestions and support have been much appreciated.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Keep smiling…